The best guide covering specifically the birds of Ireland, including rarities.
The best European field guide, and probably unrivalled anywhere inn the world; even better
in its 2nd edition, with extra species covered ('splits' and others).
"Every plumage of all 1,300 species and subspecies recorded in Britain, Europe, North Africa
and the Middle East". Detailed, point-by-point summaries for each species and main plumage but no illustrations.
Martin Garner & friends. 2008. Frontiers in birding.
Birdguide, Sheffield, 191 pages.
A detailed photographic guide to ageing for ringers.
Magnus Robb, Killian Mullarney & the Sound Approach. 2008. Petrels night and day. The Sound Approach, 300 pages + CDs:
A detailed guide to the sight & sound identification and taxonomy of tubenoses in the
Lars Svensson. 1992. Identification guide to European passerines.
4th edition. Self-published:
In-hand identification of songbirds - the ringer's bible, though an update is overdue.
Where to watch
2nd edition of the original (1994) by the late Clive Hutchinson.
Status and distribution: Ireland
The most recent standard text, and a daunting task to update...
Predecessor to Ruttledge (1966), and a more expansive read.
Results of the first winter atlas (November-February 1981/92 to 1983/84).
Robert F. Ruttledge. 1966. Ireland's Birds. Witherby:
The standard text on the status of Irish birds until Hutchinson (1989).
A more concise summary, updating a series of checklists produced bythe National Museum.
A book that inspired a generation of seawatchers, migrant-chasers and general birders. Now
very rare & expensive in its original edition (scarcest of the collectable "Poysers"), but also available in a paperback
The first truly authoritative yet highly readable account of Irish birds, largely written
by Waterford-based Ussher (who lived at Cappagh House).
Status and distribution: Britain & Ireland
First, and most readable, of all the the distribution atlases for these islands, and still
an essential reference when putting modern distribution into perspective.
Birders and birding
Birding and twitching, knowing the jargon, the two-bird theory, how to fool the rarities
Bill Oddie. 1983. Gone birding. Methuen, 174
A personal view of the history and development of "active birding" in Britain.
Stanley Cramp et al. (eds.) 1977-1994. Handbook
of the birds of Europe, the Middle east and North Africa: the birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University
Or 'BWP' as it's widely known - a multi-volume reference summarizing all relevant knowledge
of the species covered, although inevitably out of date in some respects. Original sets are now hard to find, but an interactive
DVD-ROM version is now available.
P.A.D. Hollom. 1988. The popular handbook of British Birds.
Now somewhat outdated but still a good general reference for behaviour, nesting biology
etc of commoner species.
Mike Archer, Mark Grantham, Peter Howlett & Steven Stansfield. 2010.
Bird observatories in Britain and Ireland. T. & A.D. Poyser, London, 592 pages:
Accounts of the 18 current accredited bird observatories, including Cape Clear (Co Cork(
and Copeland (Co Down), species lists and ringing totals up to 2008.
Ian Newton. 2010. Bird migration. New Naturalist series. HarperCollins, 600 pages:
An authoritative overview of bird migration, well worth a read for migration enthusiasts.
Maps and text summarizing the county-by-county distribution of scarce migrants (and some
Irish rarities) such as Sabine's Gull, Melodious Warbler etc.
A comprehensive geographic analysis of ringing recoveries.
Not including Ireland, unfortunately, except as an appendix of species recorded here first
(including Blue-winged Warbler).
Maps the county-by-county distribution of rarities, and mentions Co Waterford as a prime
potential location for further discoveries (but poorly covered up to the early 1970s).
"Original accounts from the monthly journal British Birds", including details of the first
Black Duck for thesee islands, shot in Co Kilkenny and identified in a Waterford poultry shop!